Established in 2017, The John Meisel Lecture Series celebrates Professor Emeritus John Meisel, one of Canada’s leading and influential political scientists, by providing a forum for addressing controversial major political issues facing scholars, policy-makers, and the public. Each year, the Department of Political Studies invites a mid-career scholar to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario to deliver a major public lecture that addresses a timely political controversy, followed by a “town hall” style interactive discussion that is open to both the Queen’s and Kingston community.
In 2017, Debra Thompson delivered the inaugural lecture on the topic of “Controversies in the Making: Trump, Race, and Time,” and offered a compelling analysis of the role that race and the politics of time played in the US President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign strategy. In 2018, Hayden King delivered the second annual lecture on the topic of "Canada's Oldest Controversy: The Pretense of Reconciliation," in which he argued that attempts at reconciliation are part of an enduring cycle within the traditional Indigenous-state relationship and should be viewed neither as a contemporary phenomenon nor as a challenge to the status quo. In 2019, Alana Cattapan delivered the third annual lecture on the topic of "Excluded and Enraged: On Gender, Anger, and Violence," and interrogated how gendered forms of anger can inform our understanding of historic and contemporary acts of violence against women.
Following a two-year hiatus for the lecture series due to the global pandemic (2020 and 2021), the lecture returned in 2022 with Queen's alumnus (ArtSci'11) Elamin Abdelmahmoud speaking on the topic of "Vibe Shift: The Contentious Problem of Liberalism," where he surveyed our modern relationship to liberalism and its promise, and interrogated how the social and political institutions tasked with protecting and reinforcing liberalism have come up short.
This year's lecture takes place on Thursday, November 2nd and is particularly special as John Meisel celebrates his 100th birthday ten days earlier, on October 23rd. Our lecturer is Elizabeth Dubois, Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Ottawa, and the topic is "Social Media Influencers Are Getting Political and We Aren't Ready." In this talk Dubois tackles the contentious impacts of social media on politics by focusing on online political influencers, questioning their political roles, their power, and which voices we pay attention to.